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Moles appearing suddenly: What Causes Moles to Suddenly Appear?

What Causes Moles to Suddenly Appear?

If you notice a new mole, you’re in good company. (Hey, Cindy Crawford and Eva Mendes 👋 .) But should you be concerned about new moles appearing on your skin?

Experts think new moles might suddenly appear due to genetic factors, hormonal changes, and sun damage, but they don’t know for sure.

Most moles are also benign (aka noncancerous), but new moles that emerge in adulthood are more likely to become cancerous than ones you’ve had for life.

Still wondering WTF caused this new mole to pop up? Here are the deets on what’s common and when to contact a dermatologist.

Most moles are less than 1/4 inch and range from pink to dark brown or black. They can appear anywhere on your body or face, and usually, show up during childhood and adolescence — though sometimes they can occur later in life.

But not all moles are the same. Plus, moles can change in size and color as you get older. Let’s explain.

Congenital moles

Congenital moles types of birthmarks and vary widely in size, shape, and color. About 0.2 percent to 2.1 percent of infants are born with a congenital mole (the more you know 💫).

Sometimes, these moles are treated later in life for cosmetic reasons (RIP Madonna’s iconic mole). Treatment options include:

  • surgery
  • skin resurfacing (aka dermabrasion)
  • skin shaving (aka excision) of top skin layers
  • chemical peel for lightening
  • laser ablation for lightening

Potential risks: Bigger congenital moles are more likely to become malignant (aka cancerous) in adulthood. Birthmarks bigger than 20 to 40 centimeters have a 4 percent to 6 percent lifetime risk of becoming cancerous. Large clusters of smaller moles around a bigger one also indicate a higher risk.

If your birthmark has grown significantly larger or changed since childhood, it’s worth scheduling an appointment with the derm to ensure it’s safe and healthy.

Acquired moles (aka common moles)

Common moles show up after you’re born, and they can appear anywhere on your skin. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, if you have fair skin, you can have anywhere from 10 to 40 of these kinds of moles. If you have darker skin or hair, these moles usually look darker.

Common moles are usually:

  • round or oval shaped
  • flat or slightly raised
  • smooth with distinct edges
  • one solid color (whether brown, black, red, pink, bluish, or skin-colored)
  • unchanging
  • small (1/4 inch or less)
  • hairy (in some cases)

Potential risks: If you have more than 50 common moles, you may have a higher risk of skin cancer. But it’s rare for these moles to become cancerous.

Contact a derm if you have acquired moles or they’ve changed in size or appearance.

Atypical moles (aka dysplastic nevi)

Atypical moles can appear anywhere on your body but rarely appear on your face. They’re more common on the trunk area (your abdomen or back), but they can also show up on your neck, head, or scalp.

These moles are also more common in people who’ve seen a *lot* of sun and have fair skin.

You’ll prob know these weird little guys when you see them because they’re different. Atypical moles can have:

  • irregular shapes with uneven borders
  • various colors (could be a mix of tan, brown, red, or pink)
  • irregular edges or surfaces
  • bigger sizes (more than 1/4 inch)

Benign atypical moles can have some of the same features as melanoma — the most dangerous type of skin cancer — but without the harmful effects. However, atypical moles can also become cancerous.

Potential risks: Though they can become cancerous, only about 1 in 10,000 atypical moles turn into melanoma each year. Since they can look alike, though, it’s good to have regular skin checks with a derm to monitor any changes in these moles.

Are you at risk of melanoma?

It’s common to experience a greater risk of melanoma if you have:

  • more than five atypical moles
  • a blood relative who had melanoma
  • previously had melanoma

If people in your fam have lots of atypical moles, you might have familial atypical multiple mole melanoma (FAMMM) syndrome. Your 10-year risk of melanoma is 10.7 percent if you have the syndrome (17.3 times higher than people without it). Plus, the lifetime risk of folks with FAMMM syndrome inches to 100 percent.

Don’t fret, though: Get checked. Melanoma is highly curable when caught early.

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Even though we don’t totally understand why moles pop up in adulthood, here are some potential causes of benign and cancerous moles.


If you and your relatives are similarly spattered in moles, surprise! it probably runs in the fam. People with fair skin, light, or red hair are also more likely to have existing moles or develop them later in life.

Another reason you and your family are prone to moles might be genetic mutations. A 2015 research review found that BRAF gene mutations exist in 78 percent of benign acquired moles — those noncancerous moles that pop up later in life.

The BRAF mutation is also involved in acquired moles that turn into melanoma. But researchers don’t know the exact reason a benign mole turns into a cancerous one.

Sun exposure

Bronzed-to-a-crisp skin was all the rage in the 2000s (sorry, derms!). But that past sun exposure, tanning beds, and sunburns can lead to *a lot* of acquired moles.

Sun exposure can also lead to skin damage and moles that lead to melanoma or other skin cancers. Remember: Sunscreen is your friend!

Suppressed immune system

Moles can sometimes pop up due to your body’s response to certain medications. Many medications have been found to cause moles, especially those that suppress the immune system. People who take immunosuppressant drugs after an organ transplant actually tend to have a higher risk of skin cancer.

So, while the pros don’t understand exactly what’s at work, the immune system def seems to play a role in potentially-cancerous or atypical mole formation.

Hormonal changes

Scientists also think that moles are related to hormones, potentially during hormonal shifts like puberty, pregnancy, or menopause.

In a 2014 study, researchers also found that some moles may be linked to hormone blood levels tied to breast cancer risk. Just note, research was limited to a group of white female nurses, so we don’t know the full scope for all women. Plus, researchers don’t know exactly what’s at work here.

Anytime a mole you’ve had forever changes shape or color, or a new fella pops up, it’s wise to contact a derm to get things checked out.

And if your mole itches, bleeds, oozes, or hurts, definitely make an appointment with a derm.

New moles are more likely to become cancerous than ones you’ve had for life. But a 2017 research review also found 71 percent of melanomas did not pop up from a mole.

Melanoma is the most life threatening (and rarest) skin cancer, but new moles could also be a symptom of basal cell or squamous cell cancers too. These types usually appear in areas exposed to the sun, like the face, head, or neck. Thankfully, they’re relatively easy to treat if you catch them early.

Wondering if your new mole is a prob?

Here’s the American Academy of Dermatology’s ABCDEs of melanoma warning signs:

  • Asymmetrical. For example, each side of it looks different.
  • Border. The mole has irregular borders.
  • Color. The mole’s changed color or has several or mixed colors.
  • Diameter. It’s grown over time or is bigger than 1/4 inch in diameter.
  • Evolving. It keeps changing in size, color, shape, or thickness.

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Doing a skin self-check can help you keep tabs on new moles and mole changes. Here’s how to check your skin for symptoms of skin cancer:

  1. Look at your entire body in a full-length mirror. Start looking at the front, then the back, and then your right and left sides with your arms raised up so you can see your armpits.
  2. Check out your underarms, forearms, between your fingers, and your palms. Lift one elbow to start, and focus on one arm at a time.
  3. Check your legs, between your toes, and soles of your feet. Sitting on a chair can help you bring in your feet for a closer look.
  4. Look at your neck and scalp. Use a hand mirror and part your hair for hard-to-see areas.
  5. Check your back and butt. Use that hand mirror again to get a closer look.

Melanomas can develop anywhere on the skin, but they’re more likely to start on the trunk (chest and back) in men and on the legs in women.

People of Color often have a lower risk of melanoma, but melanoma typically shows up in hard-to-see places like the soles of the feet, palms, between fingers and toes, and underneath the fingernails and toenails.

Just keep in mind, it’s easy to miss subtle changes in moles, so you should still have a derm to check out any new or changing moles.

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Again, moles that suddenly show up in adulthood or change in color or shape should be checked out by a dermatologist. Experts also recommend people with moles see a derm for yearly skin checks.

If you have an especially high melanoma risk, your doc may recommend checkups as often as every 6 months.

🚨 If you have a mole that keeps changing or that fits any criteria in the ABCDE guide (Asymmetrical, with an irregular Border, changing Color, bigger Diameter than 1/4 inch, or Evolving in appearance), contact a doc ASAP! 🚨

But don’t let your skin get you stressed. When detected early, melanoma is super treatable. When spotted early, the 10-year survival rate is 93 percent.

Though experts don’t know for sure, moles might appear due to a combo of factors like genes, sun exposure, and hormonal shifts.

Since some acquired moles — especially ones you get later — can become cancerous, connect with a derm for a complete assessment if you notice a new one pop up. It’s also a good idea to contact a doc if your moles change drastically in appearance over time.

Is it normal for a new mole to appear? Causes and warning signs

Moles are common, usually harmless, skin growths that develop due to an overgrowth of melanocytes, or pigment-producing cells. However, sudden changes to the color, shape, and size of moles can indicate serious skin conditions.

Moles, or nevi, typically form during childhood and adolescence, but new moles can appear in adulthood.

Although most moles are noncancerous, or benign, the development of a new mole or sudden changes to existing moles in an adult can be a sign of melanoma.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. It accounts for just 1% of all skin cancers but causes the majority of skin cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.

A new mole appears when melanocytes, the pigment producing cells in a person’s skin, proliferate, or duplicate, producing the characteristic moles they see on the surface. Melanocytes contain a pigment that gives moles their distinctive coloring.

Moles can be benign or cancerous. Cancerous moles, such as melanomas, develop as a result of genetic mutations. The exact cause of benign moles remains unknown.

Possible causes of a new mole include:

  • exposure to ultraviolet radiation
  • having fair skin
  • genetics
  • having a weakened immune system

Moles fall into different subtypes based on their attributes. Types of moles include:

Common mole

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Common moles can appear at birth or later in childhood. These moles usually appear on areas of the skin that a person exposes to sunlight.

A common mole typically has a round, symmetrical appearance with a smooth surface and a defined border. Common moles are relatively small, measuring less than 5 millimeters (mm) in diameter.

These moles rarely develop into cancer. However, people who have more than 50 common moles may have a higher chance of developing melanoma, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Congenital mole

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Congenital moles, or birthmarks, are present at birth. Congenital moles can vary drastically in size with some being quite large.

While these moles are usually benign, having a congenital mole, especially one that is very large, can slightly increase a person’s risk of developing melanoma.

According to one study, the lifetime risk of developing melanoma ranges between 10%–15% in people with very large congenital moles. However, figures may vary from study to study.

Atypical mole

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Atypical moles, or dysplastic nevi, can develop anywhere on the body and usually appear larger than other mole types.

Their color and texture can vary, and they usually have an uneven border that fades into the surrounding skin.

These moles usually contain multiple colors, such as pink, red, tan, and dark brown.

According to the American Cancer Society, some atypical moles may become cancerous. However, most atypical moles do not develop into melanomas.

Since atypical moles may show some similar characteristics to melanoma, people should visit their dermatologist to be sure that there are no concerns.

Spitz nevus

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This rare type of mole looks a lot like melanoma, but it is not cancerous. It usually develops in fair skinned children and young people under 20 years old.

Sometimes, doctors find it difficult to distinguish between a spitz nevus and melanoma and may recommend its removal as a preventive measure.

Spitz nevi grow quickly and can vary in size from millimeters to a centimeter or so in diameter. Other characteristics of spitz nevi include:

  • round, symmetric shape
  • smooth surface
  • lines of pigment radiating in a starburst pattern

Although most moles are benign, people should see their doctor if they notice a new mole or recent changes to existing moles.

Warning signs to look for in an existing mole include:

  • changes in color, shape, or size
  • pain
  • bleeding

People can use the American Cancer Society’s ABCDE rule to spot potential melanomas. ABCDE stands for:

  • Asymmetry. Half of the mole looks different than the other half.
  • Border. The mole has irregular, jagged, or blurry edges.
  • Color. The mole contains a mixture of different colors.
  • Diameter. The mole is bigger than 6mm in diameter.
  • Evolving. The shape, size, or color of the mole changes.

Other symptoms to watch for include:

  • lightening of a mole, including a white halo around its edge
  • bleeding or discomfort from the mole
  • a mole that looks very different than the person’s other moles

Some dermatologists may recommend that people take monthly pictures of areas with lots of moles, such as the back, in order to spot changes.

Checking areas such as the nails, feet, and hands are also important as melanomas can also arise in these locations.

Moles are skin growths made of melanocytes. While most moles develop during childhood and adolescence, adults can also develop new moles.

Not all moles that appear in adulthood are melanomas. However, if a new mole arises, or if a person notices any changes to their existing moles, they should visit a doctor or dermatologist for checks.

People who have a family history of atypical moles or melanoma should also have skin checks regularly.

People can use the ABCDE guide to help differentiate between common moles and potential melanomas.

Although doctors consider melanoma the deadliest type of skin cancer, early detection and treatment can significantly improve people’s long term outcomes. Experts estimate that early stage melanoma has a 5-year survival rate of 98%.

Many new moles on the body: what to do?

Moles on the human body begin to appear from the age of six months. Basically, moles are benign neoplasms that do not harm the body. However, if there are many moles on the body (arms, legs, etc.), what does this mean? And what to do with them?

As a rule, when many new nevi appear on the body, this indicates some internal or external changes in the body. Experts identify several main reasons for the appearance of a large number of moles on the body:

  • Hormonal failure. During periods such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause, the hormonal background is not stable, this can cause new growths to appear on the body.
  • UV influence. After prolonged exposure to the sun, the protective pigment melanin is produced in the body. On the skin, this manifests itself in the form of new moles. For people who have a lot of age spots, it is important to limit sun exposure and be sure to check neoplasms with a specialist.
  • Skin injury. Sometimes moles can appear in places of skin injury, this is something like a defensive reaction. As a rule, these are single small moles. But there are cases of the appearance of large red moles. You can learn more about what red moles are in the special article “Red moles. What is it?”.
  • Heredity. If parents have a large number of moles on the body, then most likely this will be transmitted to their child.

Should I be worried?

If the appearance of new moles bothers you, then the first thing to do is to consult a dermatologist. Only upon examination, a specialist will be able to say whether a neoplasm is dangerous or not.

Many people know that the appearance of a large number of moles can be associated with melanoma – skin cancer. However, do not worry, first consider your nevus, are there any changes?

  • whether the color changes
  • Does a mole grow
  • bleeding
  • peeling off
  • itches

If these signs are found, you should immediately consult a doctor.

How to remove a mole?

Just a few years ago, it was possible to remove a mole in just a few ways: surgical excision, cryodestruction and electrocoagulation. Unfortunately, all these methods had their drawbacks, including scars after surgery, the possibility of a mole reappearing, and a long healing period.

Today experts are ready to offer a new method of mole treatment – laser removal. With the help of a laser, even large moles can be removed, regardless of their location.

The laser completely removes the mole without affecting other areas of the skin. After the procedure, a crust forms at the site of removal, it should not be torn off, because after a while it will fall off by itself. No scar or scar will remain at the site of the wound.

The conclusion is simple, if you have a lot of new moles on your body, first of all contact a dermatologist who will check the neoplasms.

Many moles on the body: what does this mean?

Moles are a skin manifestation that all people have. Some have many moles on their bodies, more than 50. Others have less than ten. Moles come in different sizes, shapes, locations. One person may have one large mole. Another has a large number of small pigmented neoplasms. As a rule, they are harmless. Normally, the mole does not hurt, does not itch, does not grow. These skin lesions are not contagious through physical contact. Why then is there so much noise from dermatologists around a large number of moles on the body? We propose to understand.

Many moles on the body: causes

Among the reasons for the appearance of moles, doctors name different factors. One group of scientists claims that all moles are birthmarks laid down during the prenatal period. But such congenital skin defects appear gradually – at birth, in childhood, in adulthood. Opponents of this theory claim that the appearance of moles is associated with external and internal factors:

  • skin injuries;
  • prolonged exposure to the sun, in a solarium;
  • unfavorable ecology;
  • hereditary predisposition;
  • the presence of chronic diseases of the liver, thyroid gland.

Unequivocal evidence of one hypothesis or another has not been provided, so the causes of the appearance of moles continue to be studied.

In general, for an ordinary person, it is not so important why moles appear. If there are only a few, a man or woman may not pay attention to them at all. When many new moles appear on the body, they can become a cosmetic problem. If the mole has a convex shape and protrudes above the surface of the skin, it can be injured by clothing, accessories, and bleed. In this case, it is recommended to remove the moles. Modern methods used in dermatology make it possible to remove any skin neoplasms painlessly, without traces, without the risk of recurrence, in a few minutes.

What does a lot of moles on the body mean?

Moles on the body are an accumulation of pigment cells. As already mentioned, the reasons for their accumulation are not fully understood. Why some people have many such formations, while others have only a few, not a single doctor can say. At the same time, the opinion of dermatologists agrees that if a person has a lot of moles, he should be attentive to the condition of the skin. Studies have shown that people with common moles are more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma, a skin cancer, than people with few such lesions on their skin. At the same time, we will once again denote that moles are most often not dangerous, they do not degenerate into a malignant tumor.

What to do if there are many moles on the body: observation, removal

Regular self-checking of moles is a great way to detect early signs of melanoma. Dermatologists strongly recommend creating a map of moles to track their changes in the future. Such a card is made at the doctor’s appointment. The specialist, using a special program, indicates the location of the nevi on the “virtual body” of the patient and describes each of them. At the next visit, the map of moles is compared with the condition of the patient’s skin at the time of the visit. So it is possible to “catch” any changes at the initial stage. In addition, doctors recommend self-examination of moles at home using the ABCDE method. Check moles for:

  • Asymmetric. The mole has an irregular shape, one part of it does not look like the other half.
  • Fuzzy borders. If the mole does not have a clear contour, its shape becomes indefinite, this is a reason to contact a dermatologist.
  • Colour. Initially, a mole can be black, brown, red, blue. Observations require moles that have multiple colors. For example, on a light brown mole, you notice black blotches. You also need to make an appointment with a doctor if the mole has changed color – brightened or darkened.
  • Rost. If the mole grows, it must be examined. The mole may change size slightly. It is considered normal if this process is lengthy, takes years. But if education has doubled in a few months, do not delay a visit to the doctor.
  • Mole is changing. If there were no hairs on the mole before, and they suddenly appeared, or, conversely, hair fell out of the hairy mole, you need to consult a dermatologist. It is worth making an appointment with a doctor if the mole has changed its texture, a halo has appeared around it, the neoplasm bleeds, itches. If several moles have merged into one. Any changes to the mole should be cause for concern.

If you have discovered at least one of the factors according to the ABCDE method, be sure to seek the advice of a specialist. An immediate visit to the doctor is recommended if many moles appear in a short time. Important: The fact that a mole has begun to change does not automatically mean that you have skin cancer. It is necessary to undergo a diagnosis, determine the nature of education and, together with the doctor, decide on further actions.

Quite often, the doctor recommends removing a mole. This may be due to both the risk of rebirth and a cosmetic factor if the mole is perceived as a defect in appearance. Moles that protrude above the surface of the skin or are located in places where there is a high risk of injury are recommended for removal. Nevi on the palms, feet, neck, scalp can be injured. In this case, there is a high risk of infection. Therefore, it is better to remove such a mole.

Diagnosis and removal of moles in MC Lazersvit

If you are interested in the diagnosis and removal of moles in Kyiv, we invite you for a consultation at the specialized medical center Lazersvit. The institution is engaged in the study, research, diagnosis and treatment of skin neoplasms of various types. Specialists – qualified dermatologists use modern techniques to determine the nature of the neoplasm. This is digital dermatoscopy, histological analysis, and if cancer is suspected, a biopsy. Borderline and ugly moles are removed by laser in our center. The technology is safe, painless, bloodless. Moles are permanently removed by laser and no longer appear on the skin. There are no traces of exposure on the skin. There are no age restrictions – you can remove a mole on the face, hands, both for an adult patient and a child.

A lot of moles on the body is good or bad

We have found that a large number of moles in itself does not pose a threat to health. A lot of moles is not bad, and not good. This is a fact to be accepted. But people who have a lot of pigmented neoplasms should control them. To prevent the appearance of new moles, according to a number of experts, you can:

  • by limiting exposure to the sun;
  • minimizing the risks of negative effects on the skin from aggressive substances, household chemicals;
  • leading a healthy lifestyle.


  • Do all moles need to be removed?

    Safe moles may not be removed if they do not cause aesthetic and physical discomfort. The safety of a pigmented neoplasm is determined by the doctor.

  • How long does it take to remove a mole?

    Small moles up to 5 mm in size are removed by laser in 10 minutes.